Did Donors Influence the Salaita Firing?

A long story in today’s Inside Higher Ed shows how intense the pressure has been on the University Administration over the last month. The University’s chief academic officer, Chancellor Phyllis Wise was hearing from big donors as well as the University’s fundraising wing, the U of I Foundation and college advancement officers about Professor Steven Salaita. We re-post from John K. Wilson at Academe Blog.

ACADEME BLOG

Inside Higher Ed has a lengthy story about the University of Illinois administration’s justifications for firing Steven Salaita. What’s really important about today’s story is this revelation that the top fundraising official at the University of Illinois Foundation had emailed Chancellor Phyllis Wise and other top U of I fundraisers, telling her “Dan, Molly, and I have just discussed this and believe you need to”—but the section revealing what Wise was told was redacted from the email released to InsideHigherEd. According to InsideHigherEd, “Later emails show Wise and her development team trying to set up a time to discuss the matter, although there is no indication of what was decided.”

The emails reveal that at least one major donor threatened to withhold money if Salaita was hired, and it’s quite possible that development officials at the University of Illinois were actually advising the Chancellor on academic decisions based on their fundraising…

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